MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology was honored in April with the 2022 Tree Campus Higher Education recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
The Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s largest membership nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. Its Tree Campus Higher Education program began in 2008 to encourage colleges and universities to plant trees on their campuses.
There are 411 campuses across the United States with this recognition, including 15 in Florida.
The program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Florida Tech achieved the distinction by meeting Tree Campus Higher Education’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee; having a campus tree-care plan; providing dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program; holding an Arbor Day observance; and providing a student service-learning project.
Among the strengths highlighted in Florida Tech’s Tree Campus application: the university planted nearly 50 trees over the last year, and it sponsored a project involving dozens of student volunteers to clean the Joy and Gordon Patterson Botanical Garden.
“Thanks to the efforts of many students, staff and faculty, the university has expanded Florida native tree and shrub planting projects to lower fertilizer and pesticide runoff into the Indian River Lagoon,” said Ken Lindeman, an ocean engineering and marine sciences professor who manages Florida Tech’s sustainability program.
Trees on campus can lower energy costs by providing shade cover, cleaner air and water, and green spaces for students and faculty. In addition, trees improve students’ mental and cognitive health, provide an appealing aesthetic for campuses, and create shaded areas for studying and gathering.
“Trees not only play a vital role in the environment but also in our daily lives,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Having trees on college and university campuses is a great way to show a commitment to students’ and faculty’s overall wellbeing.”